25 Cents’ Worth: Rising from the ashes


“The more you rush, the more you are delayed” this native Moroccan proverb haunts me whenever I’m engulfed with fast decision making. With the rush of a decision, comes the punishment of its consequences. These challenges present themselves at the most awkward circumstances and surviving the given due to certain decisions has been the spotlight of who are most endured. Survival, in my opinion, is surpassing a series of hardships that made you lose what you hold dear, wreck your security or even spoil your identity.  However, survival render incomplete without the individual rising from the ashes to resume life once more.

“Rising from the ashes” is a famous trait of the Phoenix in Greek mythology, which is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. But what happens when the cycle is a mere duplication of the prior? This is the methodology of regeneration that majority of humanity partakes. “If only I could go back on how I used to be, this could have never happened”, admittedly a lot of us are guilty of this belief.

And that belief appears often in the infamous experience of several students; which is the radical decline of their academic performance in college. From top notch in high school to the irregular fellow with a sum of failed units, several potentials wish to retake their college years. As they have lost their extraordinary status quo, the opportunity for scholarships, the prestige of being excellent among their peers. But still some made it and developed a refreshed vision, and this paradigm shift of the ex-failure has been witnessed by several successful people.

Many of you are aware of the initial failures of these great personas that have shaped our lives today. Without their courage to rise from the ashes and shift their paradigms into a more flexible and compassionate one, the products of their minds would have never developed to what we know today. If Steve Jobs did not have the courage to pursue his passion in computer science despite dropping out of college, Apple Inc. will cease to exist. And this is the same with Microsoft by Bill Gates. Thomas Edison would not have discovered the first light bulb if he did not struggle for 999 times. These great people have suffered to reach the greatness that they are. It is all because they have chosen to “rise from the ashes” and resume life after the setbacks.

The aftermath of survival, like that of a struggling college student, brings along with it decisions of whether to embrace the radical change or not. For instance, does it matter to have honors and medallions or does the journey with all the experiences at the very end was worthwhile. The fight between the recognized lifestyle and the one yet to be discovered has witnessed several battalions. One could argue that going back to how things used to be is more secure and manageable. After all it is better to seize our status quo back, our life back. However, I believe that the behavior prior the crush lead to the trauma itself, so why repeat the misery?

As Steve Jobs once said “If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.” I do believe that hardships were thrown to us as lessons unlearned, as with hardships comes wisdom. The more you reject to learn the lessons, the more frequent they reappear. Moreover, rejecting to change is like refusing to prosper. As prosperity, regardless of material wealth is proportional to your willingness to let go of mediocre mindset.

Back to the struggling college student, the experience of losing part of what they held dear, and learning how to accept their shortcomings while forgiving themselves about it, is one key source of their success to graduate and prosper after college. These individuals have experienced first-hand lessons from the school of life, that change, the most feared one, is essential for life-long progress. All it requires is a leap of faith to jump into the unrecognized and accept the change that the struggle has offered you. Whether you are underachieving despite high potential, lost in career decisions, witnessing a broken home in the making, regardless of what hardship you are enduring, remember it is part of the process to accept yourself for who you are no matter how mediocre, and learn from what life has for you, as survival, by itself, is an indicator of your strength to achieve for life!


Kauthar Usop

By Kauthar Usop

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